Our Response to the Latest Climate Change-Denying Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

Our LTE in today's Wall Street Journal (prior to final copyediting and with hyperlinks intact):

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To the Editor:

Would the Wall Street Journal run an op-ed “Objects are falling, but Not Because of Gravity”? That’s pretty much what they did in publishing climate contrarian Fred Singer’s op-ed (5/16) “The Sea Is Rising, but Not Because of Climate Change”.

Fixing the headline would be simple (just remove “but Not”), but the op-ed itself is irreparable, constituting little more than a litany of denialist talking points. No, ice is not accumulating on Earth—it is melting. No, Antarctica isn’t too cold for melting—warming oceans are eroding the ice from beneath, destabilizing the ice sheet.  And no, legitimate scientific conclusions are not reached in op-ed pieces, but through careful peer-reviewed research. 

That research shows that sea levels are rising and human-caused climate change is the cause. Don’t just take our word for it; help yourself to the mountain of scientific literature showing as much. When water warms, it expands. When ice warms, it melts. To deny these facts is not just to deny climate change. It is to deny basic physics.

New York City experienced an additional 25 square miles of flooding from the ~1 foot of sea-level rise that has occurred due to human-caused warming. Without concerted efforts to reduce carbon emissions, it could experience as much as 8 feet by the end of the century—permanently inundating most of Wall Street.

Continuing to deny the climate threat does a disservice to the Journal’s readers who rely upon objective risk assessments in their business decisions. It does a disservice to all of us, who will suffer the consequences of a warming world and persistently rising seas.    

                                                                                                                                               

Andrea L. Dutton, Assistant Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida

 

Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Penn State University